The status of home visits by doctors has changed throughout history. From the basic way of providing medical services, through an almost forgotten skill, the home visits are returning to the "big door" and imposing themselves as a desirable form of health care in the modern age.
Review of the history of this unique medical service
The history of doctor’s home visits dates back to the 1930s, when such a health service was a common method of treatment for more than 40% of patients.
The main reasons for the provision of such medical services lie in the fact that going to the doctor, due to the illness itself or due to travel costs, was very difficult, and sometimes even impossible.
How were home visits organized at the beginning of the last century?
The reason many doctors did house calls until the 60s was the inaccessibility and lack of fast transportation options, which for most of history involved people simply going on foot or perhaps using horse-drawn carriages.
Imagine if you lived in the 19th century, you couldn’t get on a horse with a headache, diarrhea or chest pain. In addition, the unavailability of phones and emergency numbers prevented calls and the arrival of an ambulance. At that time, emergencies were handled by a family medicine doctor in the patient’s home.
Home visits by doctors for patients in the 21st century
What are the advantages of home visits?
Many doctors foresee the return of home visits to the “big door” in the near future, primarily because home visits offer many benefits to patients. One such benefit being the comfort of your own home reduces the stress of the treatment process itself, with minimal disruption to personal routines, alongside the equally important fact that home treatment ensures privacy and the highest level of discretion.
The doctor very often devotes more time to the patient during a home visit than during a usual examination in the office, with an emphasis on a quick and effective solution to the diagnosed health problems.
This is supported by the fact that home visits provide a unique view of the patient’s living environment that cannot be obtained in a doctor’s office or during a hospital stay, which in turn results in a better understanding and development of the doctor-patient relationship.
Concierge doctor, a luxury or necessity?
Due to the fast-paced and dynamic lifestyle, limited time in the day and schedule, business and private activities, calling a general practitioner for a home visit is becoming imperative for an increasing number of people.
We will briefly explain what concierge means. The word concierge comes from the French term – comte des cierges, which means “keeper of candles”. The role of candle keepers in medieval noble castles was to always be “at hand” to the inhabitants and visitors of the castle.
This is probably one of the reasons why the concierge service is more popular among people who are top managers, VIP clients of banks or hotels with 5 or more stars, pop stars, or simply people who have enough money to not have to personally deal with the things that waste precious energy and time.
The concept of concierge home doctor visits provides private, personalized medical service of the highest level in the comfort of your home.
This business model implies that users of the concierge service pay an annual fee for unlimited access to a private primary care physician who visits them at home and takes care of their health 24/7.
Although the fees for this service sometimes seem expensive, and although they do not replace the need for insurance in case of more serious health problems, this concept has clear advantages, both for those who can afford it and for doctors who can build a successful relationship with the patient, who they can be fully devoted to.
Concierge medical service is integrated as a private healthcare model within the healthcare system of developed countries. We believe that in this modern, dynamic and challenging age where the most precious resource is “time”, this type of personalized service will be well received.
Author: Hrvoje Lisak, MD